Louisiana is home to many unique and beautiful examples of architecture. Many of these buildings were designed and constructed around the state during the late 1920s and 30s. While I was researching information for my book, “I Called Him Grand Dad. The Lost Political Papers of Harvey G. Fields”, I came across the name of a New Orleans Architect that was associated with the Huey Long administration. His name was Leon Weiss. Weiss was later associated with Long’s close ally and governor, Richard Leche. Weiss graduated from Tulane University in 1903 and later founded the architectural firm of Weiss, Dreyfous and Seinferth. This was a successful company and in 1928 he moved into big time politics when he financially backed Huey Long for governor. This gained Longs undying loyalty. When the Long administration decided that Louisiana would have the tallest state capital in the United States, Weiss provided the design. He also supplied the designs for the LSU Law Building, Medical Center, Cafeterias, Dorms and Academic Buildings. In 1936 he handed over the plans for a major LSU facility expansion to include dorms and thus Tiger Stadium doubled in size. He also designed the New Orleans Airport and the Governor’s Mansion. He was one of the most successful architects in America. When Long’s protégé, Richard Leche, became governor, Leon Weiss continued to support the administration and was thus awarded more state contracts. He designed the gigantic Charity Hospital in New Orleans plus over seven other buildings on the LSU campus. He also designed college structures around the state to include Louisiana Tech. All this came to an abrupt end in 1939 when Richard Leche and two hundred others, to include Weiss, were indicted on the use of mail to defraud the government and the misuse of WPA funds. Weiss went to federal prison for seven years. When researching my book I went to Wikipedia and found Leon Weiss listed. To my pleasant surprise I discovered that Leon Weiss was “born in Farmerville, the seat of Union Parish, north of Ruston”. Ironically, the man that developed the original case that led to Weiss going to prison was also a native of Farmerville.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s